Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

The House of Brides (November 2019)

By Jane Cockram

November 20, 2019

Miranda has had a rough few years.  Her successful career as a social media influencer has come crashing down after the controversial flop of her fertility app.  Humiliated, she moves reluctantly back home to her judgemental family to nurse her wounds, feeling more than ever the loss of her mother.

Miranda’s mother, well-known author Tessa Summer, died when Miranda was young, leaving behind her bestselling book The House of Brides – a book that chronicled generations of brides, each more notorious and tragic than the last.  Each in turn married into the infamous Summer family and became mistress of the beautiful Barnsley House in England.  Miranda does not know her mother’s family, so when a mysterious letter arrives from a young Summer cousin, asking for help, Miranda’s curiosity about the legendary family prompts her to act.

Posing as a nanny, she is soon living in the heart of the family, but nothing is as she expected.  The luxury hotel and world-renowned restaurant created by the most recent ‘bride’, the lovely and effervescent Daphne, is gone.  So is Daphne.  More disturbing, one of the children is in a wheelchair after a mysterious accident and the sinister housekeeper Mrs Mins seems to have a dark influence over the master of the house.

What happened in this house?  Where is Daphne?  Will Miranda discover what darkness lies hidden at the heart of this house of brides?  And if she does, will she survive it?

The Lying Room

By Nicci French

November 20, 2019

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said.  ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know.  She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

A trusted colleague and friend.  A mother.  A wife.  Neve Connolly is all these things.

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate.  She is only human, after all.

But now one mistake is spiraling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.

She can’t tell the truth.  So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?  And who does she really know?  And who can she trust?

A liar.  A cheat.  A threat.  Neve Connolly is all these things.  Could she also be a murderer?

In the Woods (November 2019)

By Tana French

November 20, 2019

One picturebook summer, three children ran into the woods outside Dublin to play.  Only one will come out – and he had no memory of what had happened to the other two.

Twenty years later, Detective Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox come to the woods to investigate the murder of another child.  But Ryan is keeping a secret of his own.  He’s changed his name.  No one knows about his past.  And now, with only threads of memory to guide him, he has to unravel not only the mystery before him, but also the one hidden in the shadows of his mind.

In the Woods is an engrossing, richly atmospheric mystery, and a piercing exploration of memory, identify and the cracks that run through both.

never have I ever (November 2019)

By Joshilyn Jackson

November 20, 2019

It starts as a game at a book group one night.  Never Have I Ever… done something I shouldn’t.

But Amy Whey has done something she shouldn’t.  And Roux, the glamorous newcomer to Amy’s suburban neighbourhood, knows exactly what that is.

Roux promises she will go away.  She will take herself and her son, who is already growing dangerously close to Amy’s stepdaughter, and she will go.  If Amy plays by her rules.

But Amy isn’t prepared to lose everything she’s built.  She’s going to fight back.  And in this escalating game of cat and mouse, there can be only one winner.

Lying in Wait (November 2019)

By Liz Nugent

November 20, 2019

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son.  There is just one thing Lydia craves to make her life complete, and she is determined that her husband will get it for her.  The last thing she expects is that her obsession will lead to murder.

However, not even a dead body can stop Lydia in her tracks.  If anything, it makes her more determined to get her own way – whatever the cost…

The Wild Card (November 2019)

By Renee

November 19, 2019

Sure, thirty years is a long time.  Sure, the case was closed.  Well, never really a case as such.  Fifteen-year-old brown girl tops herself, who cares?  Turn the page.  That bloody notebook, thought Club.  God knows what was in it.  Who knew that little bitch could even write?

Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand.  She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi House for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty – who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home – had drowned.

Now in her thirties, Ruby needs to find out what really happened to her and Betty at the Home – and her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols in playing cards to tell a story she doesn’t fully understand.  But her investigations set off a chain reaction: a man in a balaclava attacks her and there are break-ins at her apartment and the local theatre where she’s acting in The Importance of Being Earnest.  As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery at the heart of the Home, she starts to find answers to questions she hadn’t dared ask.

Life Before (November 2019)

By Carmel Reilly

November 19, 2019

She knew she should talk to him.  But what could she say?  Once there had been blame to apportion, rage to hurl.  Now she no longer had a sense of that.  Who knew what the facts of them being here together like this meant.  What was she to make of the situation?  Scott lying unconscious here in this bed, unknown to her in almost every way.  She a wife, a mother, but in her mind no longer a sister.  Not a sister for a very long time now.

Lori Spyker is taking her kids to school one unremarkable day when a policeman delivers the news that her brother, Scott Green,, has been injured and hospitalized following a hit and run.

Lori hasn’t seen Scott in decades.  She appears to be his only contact.  Should she take responsibility for him?  Can she?  And, if she does, how will she tell her own family about her hidden history, kept secret for so long?

Twenty-years before, when she and Scott were teenagers, their lives and futures, and those of their family, had been torn to shreds.  Now, as Lori tries to piece together her brother’s present, she is forced to confront their shared past – and the terrible and devastating truth buried there that had driven them so far apart.

The Night Fire (November 2019)

By Michael Connelly

November 18, 2019

Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him.

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective he had an inspiring mentor, John Jack Thompson, who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case.  Now John Jack is dead and Harry inherits a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before – the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.

Bosch brings the murder book to Renee Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago.  That will be their starting point.

The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigative team.  And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

Blue Moon (November 2019)

By Lee Child

November 18, 2019

Jack Reacher is a former military cop, trained to notice things.  He’s on a Greyhound bus, watching an elderly man sleeping in his seat, with a fat envelope of cash hanging out of his pocket.  Another passenger is watching too … obviously hoping to get rich quick.

When the mugger finally makes his move Reacher rides to the rescue.  The old man is grateful, yet he turns down Reacher’s offer to help him home.  He’s vulnerable, scared, and clearly in big, big trouble.

Elsewhere in the city, two ruthless rival criminal gangs, one Albanian, the other Ukrainian, are competing for control.  Do they have a life-and-death hold on the old guy?  Will Reacher sit back and let bad things happen?  Or can he twist the situation to everyone’s benefit?

‘This is a random universe,’ he says.  ‘Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.’

The odds are better with Reacher involved.  That’s for damn sure.

The Deserter (November 2019)

By Nelson Demille and Alex DeMille

November 18, 2019

Secrets, lies and the hunt for a mysterious traitor…

When Delia Force Captain Kyle Mercer disappeared from his post in Afghanistan, a video released by his Taliban captors made international headlines.  But circumstances were murky: did Mercer desert before he was captured?  Then a second video sent to Mercer’s army commanders leaves no doubt: the trained assassin and keeper of classified army intelligence has willfully disappeared.

When Mercer is spotted a year later in Caracas, Venezuela, top military brass task Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor of the Criminal Investigation Division to fly to Venezuela and bring Mercer back to America – dead or alive.  Brodie knows this is a difficult mission, made more difficult by his new partner’s inexperience and by his suspicion that Taylor is reporting to the CIA.

Tense, witty and inspired by a real-life story, the new thriller from New York Times bestseller Nelson DeMille and his son, screenwriter Alex DeMille, is an absolute must read.

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